The Smoky Mountains are well known for being cool, calm, and collected. But if you happen to visit in January, you’ll find it’s actually freezing.
On the bright side, we don’t have to worry about the bear shenanigans we read about in the summer logs of the guest book. They are hibernating (is what I keep telling myself).
Today we decided that a fun, socially distanced activity could be hiking in Great Smoky mountains national park. In order to be truly distanced, we had to choose less popular trails, which meant no Laurel falls or Rainbow loop this time around. However, we got some stunning views from the Appalachian trail that runs through this section of the park. The parking lot was a bit crowded but because it was snowy, we pretty much had the trail to ourselves after 100 feet.
Proof we hiked (a tiny bit of) the Appalachian trail… in the snow!
We even got to stand in two different states at the same time- Tennessee and North Carolina!
Looking out into North Carolina/Tennessee
Afterwards, we went on the Jack’s Creek trail which leads you by some mossy creeks that could really be pulled from a windows screen saver.
Walking along the river on the Jack’s Creek trail, it’s just gorgeous out here!
At the end of the 5 mile trail, you get to see the abandoned Elkmont village. Elkmont used to be a holiday community established before the Great Smoky mountains national park was founded, and so the U.S. gov said that they could keep the homes until the owners died. Now, the homes are either in disrepair or are being remodeled for historical viewing in the future. Right now, it’s just eerie. Think dilapidated homes that look like they’re about to cave in with their screen doors flung wide open. It didn’t help that we were nearing sunset, and I did not want to be stuck in this scooby doo ghost town at night.
Walking through the abandoned Elkmont village
By the time we got back to the cabin, we were frigid. Thankfully, our cabin’s jacuzzi welcomed us with open arms. After donning my swimsuit and earmuffs, I hoped in and We sipped Lake Dog beers and lounged in the jacuzzi while watching the smoky mountains silhouetted by the twilight sun. I’d never felt more posh or like an instagram influencer in my life.
Watching the sun set over the Smoky Mountains, now this is the life!
It was a fantastic way to end the day, and after hanging out awhile, I retired to write this post in my phone’s notes app before going to bed at 9pm. Crazy, I know.
A special thank you:
A huge thank you to my friend, C, and to C’s family for inviting us on your family vacation to the Great Smoky mountains. It was so much fun and so relaxing!